One of the greatest challenges for any business leader is how to keep their workforce motivated. Organisations have tried various techniques throughout the years with varying levels of success. Many have found that for some roles, particularly in sales, there’s no replacement for offering the potential to earn lots of money.
However, although the UK has made a significant recovery following the global recession, some companies are still reticent to boost permanent pay, meaning they have to find alternative ways to keep their staff motivated. So with that in mind, what alternative methods can businesses use to incentivise their employees?
Virgin recently made the news for offering its staff unlimited holiday to be taken whenever they want. While this may initially sound slightly counterproductive, Richard Branson feels it’s a positive idea. “The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!” While many would suggest this idea may be open to abuse, it could certainly aid in motivating and attracting staff to work for the conglomerate.
However, it won’t be well suited to many businesses and there are, thankfully, more traditional methods of motivating professionals without increasing their salaries.
One of the most popular motivational tools is to offer flexible working hours to employees. Professionals, particularly ‘millennials’, increasingly want this option factored into their employment contracts in order to create a healthier work/life balance.
The rise of technology has obviously played a part in this as more professionals have access to systems that mean they can effectively carry out their jobs away from the workplace. It’s also particularly beneficial to those with a family or small children who may have to balance work commitments around a busy schedule.
And it’s not only working hours that organisations are willing to be flexible on. Growing numbers of firms are choosing to offer flexible packages to employees that can be tailored to their preferences. Rather than offering the same benefits for every individual, businesses have realised that they stand a greater chance of retaining talent by catering to their personal needs. This generally takes the form of a ‘menu’ of incentives which staff choose from.
The perks generally range from traditional schemes such as contributing to a pension to lifestyle-orientated benefits such as subsidised gym membership or season ticket discounts. Regardless of the options on offer, these types of packages are likely to motivate individuals who will feel their employer is willing to be flexible to meet their demands.
Training and development
Offering robust training and development schemes is another method organisations have traditionally used to motivate their staff. By making such opportunities available, employees will be encouraged by the fact that their employer cares about their ongoing development. It can also help in simpler terms – by building on existing skill sets firms can improve the day-to-day performance of their staff, which is only going to make them happier to do their jobs.
They’re also likely to gain a better understanding of how their work fits into that of the overall organisation which, again, will only improve motivation amongst the workforce.
Work with senior figures
There are also less tangible methods of motivating staff such as ensuring senior level talent integrates with the rest of the business and perhaps even works alongside them on certain projects. While this may not sound that significant, it can make more junior professionals feel that the work they’re doing is valued and that they’re actually having an impact on the overall success of the organisation.
Another technique is to create opportunities to not only move up through the business, but also across into areas that professionals may have a specific interest in. This means that if an individual was to grow tired of their role, they would feel confident that they could take on another position without having to leave the organisation.